Friday, 22 May 2020

Releasing your inner child

What makes children so resilient? Why do they see the magic in everything? Why don’t they worry about what people think or the results of their actions?

As young children, we live in the moment. We have tantrums, we cry, we laugh, we say what we think and we express how we feel. We are selfish at a young age and we haven’t yet started to adhere to many of society’s restrictions.

As an adult, we have spent most of our lives being inculcated with ideals and told how we should behave or live our lives. We're constantly given expectations to live up to which can often make us feel inadequate, unsuccessful or insecure, so we become too afraid to be our true selves. We also have more and more responsibilities as we grow up which can create more worry and pressure, with less time to focus on the things that makes us truly happy.

To protect our mental wellbeing, it’s important to make time for ourselves and remember how it feels to be young, carefree and happy again. Just because we have responsibilities, it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and make time for relaxation. Studies have shown that by being in touch with our inner child, we can heal issues in our adult life.

Think of all the time we spend watching television, scrolling through social media or cleaning the house – surely, we can take back some of that time and remember how good it feels to be young and carefree.

10 ways to release your inner child

  • Let your creative side run wild. Get out some paints and paper (or buy some if you don’t have any) and let loose with your imagination. Who cares what the end result looks like? It’s all about enjoying the process and how it makes us feel.
  • Don’t wait for the sun to come out to go for a walk. Put your wellies on and get out in the rain. Remember how it smells, sounds and feels.
  • Go to the park and take a few of your favourite childhood snacks to enjoy while you're there. You could even try making a daisy chain!
  • Play some music from your childhood and get lost in the memories and feelings of nostalgia.
  • Do something spontaneous. Don’t plan anything but when the mood takes you, just throw caution to the wind and do it.
  • Read your favourite childhood book and remember why it was so magical and why you felt a connection with the characters.
  • Build a den in your garden or home or revisit somewhere that used to make you feel safe in your own little world. Perhaps there was a certain tree that you used to climb, or you could visit the neighbourhood you grew up in. If you can't visit in person, why not visit it on Google maps?
  • Spend time with friends and have fun (you can do this online or in person depending on the restrictions in place). Make a rule not to talk about anything serious and just be silly and laugh.
  • Write a letter to your younger self. Tell them about all the wonderful experiences you’ve had and give them some insightful advice from the older you.
  • Play a game with your partner or friend. You can probably still buy most games that you had when you were younger either in a toy shop or online.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Letting go of things you can’t control

Throughout life, everyone experiences events and situations that are way out of their control. But it’s how we react to the hand that has been dealt to us that determines how it affects us.

Too often we don't recognise when we're swimming against the tide and spend too much of our precious time and energy battling against a situation that is out of our control. This can be extremely exhausting and also damaging to our mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s important that we recognise the types of things that drain our energy.

If we continue to let uncontrollable situations control us, over time the ongoing stress and anxiety can cause more serious mental and physical health problems. Our bodies don’t react well to continuous stress and when we become run down, our immune system is weakened, and we are more susceptible to illnesses.

Things we can’t control and should let go of

You might be wondering how to distinguish between what you can and can’t control, so here are a few examples of what you should try not to focus on too much:

  • The past – the best way to deal with the past is by not regretting anything as it is too late to change it, so try and learn from it and put the knowledge from your experience to better use in the future.
  • Mean people – everyone is responsible for themselves and unfortunately, the majority of the time, we are unable to change other people’s behaviour. The best way to deal with mean, unkind people that drain your energy is to avoid them whenever possible. Devote your energy to people who are worthy of your time and energy.
  • Stop predicting the future – although we do have some control over the future, we can’t always predict it. So, worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet means that you might suffer twice.
  • Natural disasters – Again, we have absolutely no control over natural disasters. There may be certain measures that you can put in place to minimise the damage caused (if you feel there is a real chance of a natural disaster occurring), but generally, you should try not to worry about events that haven’t yet occurred. 

How do we let go?

If there is something in particular that is bothering you and making you anxious or stressed, make a list of the things that are causing you concern. Decide exactly which things you feel you have no control of and which you can control.

There are lots of meditation and mindfulness exercises that can help you with the process of letting go. Research studies have shown that practising mindfulness can have a positive effect on anxiety. Visualisation exercises can also be very useful. Ultimately, it’s how we respond to situations that’s really important. Think of specific times in your life when you were in control. Ask yourself why you were in control, how did you deal with the situation, and how did you feel at the time? By visualising the details, it will help you to understand how to feel in control again.

Worrying prevents us from experiencing the positives in the here and now so it’s important that we learn to switch off. Although life is ever changing and often out of our control, if we start to focus more on the present and recognise the difference between “I can’t” and “I won’t”, we will soon start to become better equipped to let go.

Ways to stop worrying about things we can’t control

  1. Try to stop second guessing people’s thoughts
  2. Practise mindfulness and learn to live in the present moment
  3. Restrict your use of social media
  4. Practise meditation
  5. Write down your worries 
  6. Change your focus